From Winter to Summer Games: just two months after she started practicing the sport in 2019, Muraoka broke the then-Japanese record in the women’s 100m track (wheelchair T54 class).

Ayari Nishizawa, Sankei Shimbun, JAPAN Forward

Momoka Muraoka is an alpine skiing gold medalist at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Paralympic Games and a qualified competitor for the Tokyo Game’s women’s short distance wheelchair track and field. Yet that is not enough for her. Muraoka (a Global Team Toyota Athlete) is also eyeing the 2022 Beijing Winter Paralympics.

During a short period of time she tackled the difficult challenges of going back and forth between racing in track and field and skiing. Firmly focused as her back-to-back participation in the Summer and Winter Games approaches, she says, “I want to show my best performances. I hope as many people as possible will become interested.”

She didn’t start to seriously engage in track and field sports until the spring of 2019. For Muraoka, who says her world was expanded through sports, a Paralympics Games held in her native country, where she will receive a great amount of support from the Japanese people, was the decisive attraction. In July, just two months after she started practicing the sport, she broke the then-Japanese record in the women’s 100-meter track race (wheelchair T54 class). Quickly immersing in this new world, Muraoka says, “It felt wonderful to be going at top speed.”

However, the challenge to becoming a “two-way player” was not without difficulties. Due to the Tokyo Paralympics being delayed for a year, the Beijing Winter Paralympics will be held only six months after the Tokyo Games have ended. Because of this, especially during the last few months, Muraoka has had to go back and forth between track and field and skiing competitions so that she could qualify to compete in both events. With her physical and mental condition both strained, she confesses, “More than once, I almost lost hope.”


By - grape Japan editorial staff.